Now the MTA has declined a Queens lawmaker’s request for an express bus route for the neighborhood.
In March, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley advocated for bringing express bus service to Maspeth by writing a letter to MTA New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick. In her letter, Crowley points out express buses already run through Maspeth, yet do not make any stops in the community.
But in a July 10 letter to Crowley, Irick nixed the idea, noting that the express buses which run through Maspeth without making stops are operating on the limited access Long Island Expressway (LIE) route and take advantage of the HOV lane leading to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. If the express bus was to enter the LIE in Maspeth, Irick contends, it would prevent the bus from entering the HOV lane.
Additionally, these express buses may be seen traveling along the LIE service road in Maspeth due to traffic congestion on the Expressway, Irick said.
“In general, express bus service has been suffering from lengthening travel times due to traffic congestion, which has negatively impacted ridership,” he wrote. “Moreover, Maspeth already has ample bus-to-subway connections to Manhattan; therefore, we cannot add express bus service to the Maspeth community at this time.”
Since then, Crowley has penned another letter to Irick, outlining several points for the acting president to reconsider before shutting the case on bringing an express bus route to Maspeth.
In her letter, Crowley says that although there is currently no access to the HOV lane on the LIE from Maspeth, it does not stop the MTA from working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to add a second access point, and that an express bus in Maspeth does not need to alter an existing route but can create a new route.
She also points out that although Maspeth is serviced by many bus routes to take commuters to subway connections, many of those buses are unreliable and are jam-packed during the rush hours.
“Finally, you must consider that not one of the buses listed has an average speed over 9 mph according to the Bus Turnaround Coalition and it takes Maspeth residents about 40 mins [sic] to get to work according to census data,” Crowley wrote. “While Maspeth has ample transportation on paper, commuting is not ideal for many of the residents that rely on local bus service. You should identify ways to speed up local bus service and re-examine the possibility of express bus service for Maspeth.”